Sunday, October 22, 2017

Seattle Schools This Week

Monday, October 23rd
Student Assignment Plan and High School Boundaries Meeting
6:30 to 8 p.m., Eckstein Middle School

Tuesday, October 24th
Native American/Alaska Native family meeting
Meany Middle School, Lunchroom, 6-7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 25th
Board Work Sessions: Budget; Student Assignment Plan; Executive Session: to evaluate the performance of a public employee 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM, JSCEE, No agenda yet available

Thursday, October 26th
Native American/Alaska Native family meeting
Chief Sealth High school, 6-7:30 pm 

Student Assignment Plan and High School Boundaries Meeting
6:30 to 8 p.m., Ballard High School

Saturday, October 28th
Director Community Meetings

Director Patu 
Raconteur, 5041 Wilson Ave S, 9-11 am

Director Blanford
Location TBA, 10 am-noon (note: this is Director Blanford's last community meeting as a director)

I note the announcement of the annual State of the District speech by the Superintendent which will be Tuesday, November 14th at West Seattle High School from 5-7 pm.   This might be an interesting event to attend what with school board elections the week before and the announcement that the current Board has decided to seek a new superintendent.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Eckstein meeting format was open house - staff stood at tables and throughout the room to answer questions related to different table topics. It was very difficult to answer/hear questions. It would be helpful if those who attended could report back with their questions and answers. It sounds like a 7 period day is in the works for next year. Schools are being asked to offer 28 credits starting next year (4 years x 7 credits).

-attendee

Anonymous said...

I agree with attendee that the open house forum tonight at Eckstein was a hot mess. Here is what I took away from two different staffers I talked to about HCC plans for those interested.

HCC will not be moving to the neighborhood high schools anytime soon. They said that the cohorts at each individual school would not be large enough to support adequate advance classes. It was implied that additional HCC pathway schools would open in different parts of the city - Ingraham would become the North end HCC pathway.

WW

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, that was a fairly terrible community meeting. I'll have a full report tomorrow but parents ought to be howling to the Board. For something this big and this important, balloons and Halloween candy won't cut it.

And WW is right; a lot of "implied" explanations that, later on, can either be denied or "that just didn't work out."

Anonymous said...

If Ingraham is THE north end pathway, as opposed to an option pathway, will they become an AP/IB school?? Will they no longer cap enrollment?

more questions

Anonymous said...

If they are going to imply that there will still be HCC pathways in the future, shouldn't they be communicating that with the HS boundaries folks, who seem to be operating under the opposite assumption?

They need to be all working together on a comprehensive strategy. These silos--and the lack of leadership able to put all the pieces together in a way that will actually work--are killing us.

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

I actually didn't think it was bad, although there was no formal presentation. Groups were small and there was good opportunity to ask questions and state concerns. I was there for about an hour. This is what I took away from my conversations:

1. HC will no longer default to Garfield for all of Seattle after 2019; (only for South side?)
2. Sounds like HC pathway may be preserved, with option for HC at more schools. (I took this to mean Ingraham in the North end given the added capacity- not sure if there would be a third)
3. HC students will not be automatically assigned to reference school in 2019.
4. Lincoln will not be the North HC pathway (it would be over-enrolled too quickly)
5. More accelerated classes will be offered at high schools currently at the low end for better equity (number of AP classes at area high schools range from < 10 to 70);
6. IB/ AP conundrum at Ingraham- will they add more AP classes as some kids don't want IB? Currently being considered.
7. Lincoln as STEM school, would have 4 yrs of Math/ Science, but it would not be an option school. (I looked at Cleveland's website for an idea of curriculum). If it opens as a 9/10, they would hope to accommodate HCC who are already 2 yrs accelerated with continuation of math/ science
8. High schools may continue have a focus or special areas of study beyond core offerings without being an option school
9. No additional boundary maps will be drawn, so make your case for one of the three that are the finalists (these 3 were on display at the meeting)
10. 24 credits was enacted to better prepare students to meet entrance requirements for colleges. 21 credits left some kids short. (I didn't know this was the reason).
11. Recommendation for HC pathway in 2019 should be made in the Nov or Dec meeting
12. Community engagement matters, so either go to the meetings, or email your opinions. Things like opening Lincoln as a 9/10, grandfathering 11th graders to stay at their existing school- let enrollment planning know. Which map you like and why- email boundaries. Recommendation to be made Dec 7.
13. It would be good to know when draft of 2019 SAP will be ready for community review. Someone mentioned that it should be done before boundaries are finalized. That was not on the decision timelines sheet that was passed out at the meeting tonight. If someone could ask at the next meeting, it would be helpful.
14. By January vote, students will hopefully know their high schools for the 2019 including final vote on boundaries, pathways, and grandfathering.

Waiting Imp-atiently

Anonymous said...

I was shocked to learn last night from Ashley Davies that proximity, walkability, and transportation weren't used as criteria when developing these boundaries. Which is why, in Scenario Hv.2, you have families who live just a few blocks from Ballard HS assigned to Ingraham, which is 4.5 miles away. Unbelievable. Am I the only one who thinks this is a problem?

- Frustrated

Anonymous said...

What?? Walkability and transportation not considered? This is lunacy. Please write to the school board. Options should indicate which change areas may have significant transportation changes and gain or loss of walkability.

For anyone who attends the meetings, please write your comments on a card, placed at the appropriate table. Feedback will be attached to topic of the table where the card gets submitted. Do not leave without submitting a comment card. These concerns need to be heard and documented.

UnFingbelievable

Melissa Westbrook said...

Waiting Imp-atiently, what if the groups were not small? What if, at the next community meeting, a lot more people show up? I thought it hard just to hear what questions parents had with all the din around us.


"Community engagement matters" - not to staff it doesn't. But yes, tell the Board your thoughts.

Frustrated and those things ARE in the original SAP that staff is calling "an historical document" with "principles" in it. They are wrong. It is the a living document that is the baseline for enrollment.


Anonymous said...

@Waiting Imp-atiently, that's a whole lot of continued uncertainty for this stage of the game. And the fact that they are saying one thing re: pathways while the maps--which they won't redraw--say the opposite is...problematic?

If the three map options up for consideration are the only options to be available, they need to provide additional details as to how they came up with the projections for each school under each scenario. The current maps assume pathway changes--they need to spell these out. For example, how do they get to a Garfield projection of 1352 in Scenario E--down about 500 from their current population--when the Garfield boundary only shrinks by about 211? That leaves about 300 mysteriously to-be-disappeared students... Who are they, where else are they counted, and why?

In addition, for each of these three map options they need to provide projections that include pathways. They don't have to re-do the maps themselves; they could simply add what the numbers would look like if, as they suggested, Garfield was a south-end pathway and Ingraham was the north-end pathway. This is important to do because the three options have varying amounts of space left over to absorb these pathways.

DisAPP

Anonymous said...

Who is leading this circus? Chaos theory is a branch of mathematics focused on the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. 'Chaos' is an interdisciplinary theory stating that within the apparent randomness of chaotic complex systems, there are underlying patterns, constant feedback loops, repetition, self-similarity, fractals, self-organization, and reliance on programming at the initial point known as sensitive dependence on initial conditions. The butterfly effect describes how a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state....

They need to create versions of the current maps with scenarios where HC students stay in neighbor schools and where they follow pathway to Ingraham. There is a real capacity change that should be illustrated and acknowledged. Are they assuming only Hale HCC students and a small number from the other northend schools with go to Ingraham, or the majority across the Northend will follow the pathway? It is unclear what they project, but it is good news they found a lot of gold to add advanced curriculum and teachers to all those schools. Who won the lottery? Awesome!

Chaos Theory

Anonymous said...

I had not heard Lincoln would be a STEM school. I thought they were talking about making it a project based learning Global something or other, and toss in some immersion pathway for the Hamilton folks.

Curve Ball

Anonymous said...

The list presented by Imp-atiently Waiting came across more as the random thoughts of random staff than any coherent plan. A lot of maybes and might-bes, ideas not heard before, things that conflict, etc.

We need a plan that is well thought out, based on clear data, and internally consistent.

bring it

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember reading notes from a capacity meeting (1-2 years ago?) at Ballard high school where Nyland and Herndon (enrollment) attended. I think it was Nyland who stated Garfield was "not expected to house all of HCC and that Ingraham was adding seats, West Seattle was adding an HCC pathway etc. So maybe between all of the above as well as Roosevelt, Lincoln and Ballard they think they can come up with enough for advanced learning pathways.

Realistically they cannot afford to fund AP classes unless they are full. Those classes need to be packed to run. All kids should have access to AP classes at each high school. But to be realistic not all high schools have loads of kids needing loads of sections. IB is also available at Sealth and Rainier Beach.
-P

Anonymous said...

So instead of the economic and racial divide that is the reality at Garfield between the 2 programs the plan may be to move that same problem with no new solutions to integration of students, up to Ingraham? With no notice to either community? At a school already grumbling about the HCC impact on it? Hope the general education population population and the HCC population get to comment on this before someone downtown unrolls a done deal. Hope there is buy in from leadership at whatever school the program lands. Hope there are resources to bring people together not just start another bitter school battle.

-skeptical-

Anonymous said...

I just heard NPR correspondent say Trump can shift on a dime and has many informed policy decisions happening, and I truly couldn't help but substitute "Trump" for any of the current "leaders" holding senior roles at SPS right now. I don't trust them and I wish they would get their plans in order during this time of change.

Get Serious

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why Garfield endures so much criticism for the exact same economic and racial divide that exists at every heterogeneous school in the country.

FNH

GLP said...

I am also very upset that proximity, walkability, and transportation weren't used as criteria when developing the boundaries. I live in Maple Leaf in the small hot pink area on map H2 that would move from Roosevelt to Nathan Hale. My daughter current walks to/from Roosevelt. And, there is an easy bus she can hop on to get her most of the way home. To get to Nathan Hale she would have to walk, take a bus, transfer, and then walk again. I talked to many other parents at the meeting last night who live in this same section and are also unhappy about this. Our area has been affected by boundary changes over and over again, flopping between elementary schools and middle schools, but the one constant was that south of 85th went to Roosevelt. I really disagree with the idea of aligning with the middle school boundaries when it conflicts with proximity.

-GLP

David said...

Transportation should be way higher up on the district's agenda than it is. Plus, there are issues like sidewalks. The kids who walk to Nathan Hale (and JAMS) have very few sidewalks if walking to school and almost no biking safety infrastructure if biking, combined with some really outrageously unsafe routes and crossings along Ravenna, Lake City Way, and 35th.

Anonymous said...

@GLP, please submit these comments to the Board. Yes, that area has been impacted with every change - lots of flipflopping - because they are in a zone on the fringe of several school borders. The Metro options seem to be the 372 which goes from Ravenna Ave to Lake City, or the 65 which runs along 35th Ave NE, not exactly close.

Imagine if SPS superimposed border scenarios with transportation/walkability zones...why is this an afterthought???

UFB

Anonymous said...

@ skeptical, it sure it messy, no? There's apparently some discussion (or maybe just random musings of JSCEE staff?) re: adding AP classes at Ingraham so there are more advanced offerings for students who don't want IB. Would that be a welcome addition by the IHS gen ed community? Or is the gen ed community so opposed to and/or uninterested in AP classes that this would be seen as a negative? If so, how can a school reconcile the very different needs/interests of different populations?

messy

Anonymous said...

We live 1.3 miles from Ballard High and yet Ingraham is our "neighborhood school" over 4 miles away. We live in the area where there is such bad Metro service that the district has to run a yellow bus here to transport the students to our "neighborhood school." It takes 20-25 minutes to drive to Ingraham but we can walk/bike or drive to Ballard High in a few minutes. There is a city Greenway that runs north/south on 17th Ave NW where students could potentially just bike down the road to the school. What a waste of money to have a yellow bus drive students away to a farther school when those students could walk or bike to a closer school. North of 85th was assigned to Ballard for decades and hopefully the boundaries will shift back north when Lincoln opens. There's no reason that people who live so close to a school need to be shipped so far away. I know this is the case for others who live near other schools who are slated to be bused to a school farther away so I'm not saying we're the only one in the district in this situation. There's no perfect way to draw the boundary maps, but it seems that there should be an element of common sense here. Get neighborhood kids back to their closest neighborhood school where it's possible. It's utter nonsense that walkability isn't being considered. I do plan to email the district/Board members that distance/walkability needs to be considered.

NW parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

So Wyeth Jesse had the "results" of the Thought Exchange whatever it was (he says it wasn't a survey). One of them had this exact thought that I see here from a reader:

"All kids should have access to AP classes at each high school."

They do. Every single comprehensive high school has AP and every single kid can sign up. The only barrier is if taking a language AP (which, of course, means you need to have had a lot of that language) or other APs that might need more advanced math. But advanced math classes are also available to any student.

I pointed this out to Jesse and he said, yes, we need to get this message out.

But the reader is also correct that the number does vary from school to school (and that's based on demand especially for HCC students)AND that you cannot add AP without a nearly full class. Again, this is why you have HCC pathways - to have enough AP for those students AND save the district money from having to provide more at every single school.

NESeattleMom said...

I got the impression that the IHS community and Mr. Floe were very welcoming to all students. I am wondering if it is true that IHS is not excited about having HCC there. Why wouldn't IHS want more AP classes? My many visits to IHS were positive experiences.

Anonymous said...

@NESeattleMom

That's been our experience at well and that Ingraham's admin is committed to making Ingraham work for all students including those in HCC. The problem a couple years back is that the district was not clearly communicating to families and many thought HCC at Ingraham was a guaranteed option which it wasn't.

A north end HCC pathway at Ingraham with some additional sections of advanced courses seems like the best case scenario for all students given Garfield's overcrowding.

Maple Leaf Family

Anonymous said...

@NorthSeattleMom, there was also a lot of mumbling a couple years back that there was a "school within a school" feeling at Ingraham, and that GE students felt like 2nd class citizens. If that sentiment is still prevalent to some extent, there might be a group that's resistant to a big increase in the HC population at IHS. @skeptical's comment above leads me to believe there's still some uneasiness around the issue...

HF

Anonymous said...

@Melissa

I found it curious that the handouts Mr. Jesse had with "the results" of the ThoughtExchange did not include the top two voted on comments, which were:

"Advanced students need to enter 9th with a critical mass of students entering the math/science pathway at their level."

"A true pathway at north end and south end."

WW



Anonymous said...

@HF-- I think it is more the focus on IB. I know students who chose running start instead of IB and they felt that way. I don't know if there is any financially viable solution around that issue in this district either!
-P

Anonymous said...


Good catch WW. And of course that is why they went with the amorphous ThoughtExchange experiment. It allowed them to censor questions and then cook the books as to what was said. Does anyone have a copy of the results?

Live Life

kellie said...

The institutional memory is quite frustrating. I so wish that someone had just offered Traci Libros a nice fat consulting contract to come back and do this process. The last time, boundaries were drawn for high school, there was a critical factoid, that seems to be missing in this conversation.

At the last time this was done, over 70% of high school students had TWO addresses and address fluidity was higher at high school that other grades. This completely changes the dynamics of drawing high school boundaries and it is was abundantly clear from the data that families (in all demographic categories) will move to get an assignment that is a better student fit.

All of the maps presented are based on resident address. The last time we did this, the reason why it was made clear that there was no alignment between middle and high school was because choice at high school is critical to students.



kellie said...

One of the many problems with the meeting format last night, is that multiple people are reporting multiple answers.

One of the answers I heard last night was that "multiple HCC pathways" sites were under consideration in order to alleviate crowding at Garfield.

There has been a group in West Seattle that has been actively promoting a Madison -> WSHS HC cohort. I think this is pretty solid idea. If HCC were placed at WSHS, then West Seattle could have easy access to both IB and HCC. Additionally, by placing these programs at separate schools, you have the ability to increase movement between the schools.

Anonymous said...

There are not enough highly capable students in West Seattle to make scheduling multiple sections of AP classes economically feasible,

Fairmount Parent

Anonymous said...

@ kellie, That's fascinating about the dual addresses. Seventy percent! Do students get to pick which one they use as primary for assignment? If so, that certainly adds a whole new dimension to things. I wonder what percentage are 2-parent/guardian families vs. those "moving" (or establishing an alternate address) for school assignment purpose.

HF

kellie said...

@ Fairmont Parent, I certainly understand the economically feasible part. That said, it certainly seems that if the options are multiple cohorts or zero cohorts, that multiple cohorts is more economically feasible. I would love any details you can add about how the madison cohort is working.

@ HF, I have no idea about current numbers because they don't seem to be in the data sets. That said, in the 2008, 2009 data sets, those number were most likely representative of true 2 parent/guardian families, because there was no "guaranteed assignment" at that time based on address and it was similar to nationwide divorce statistics.

If I had to make a guess, I would guess that the percentage is actually higher now.



Melissa Westbrook said...

Do students get to pick which one they use as primary for assignment?"

Their parents do (I'm pretty sure but I can ask.) I don't think the district requires "primary parent" status but even so, there are parents who share custody.

I also suspect that in the case of a school like Roosevelt, you'll see some of the apartments nearby being rented (and then subleased) in order to have an address in the neighborhood.

There will be gaming aplenty.

GLP said...

Live Life - The Thought Exchange results start on page 76 of the materials for the Board Work Session tomorrow.

https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/17-18%20agendas/20171025/20171025_Agenda_Packet.pdf

-GLP

kellie said...

Mel's comment about "gaming aplenty" is really important.

The last time we went through the high school boundary process, it became very clear that it was just not possible to "right-size" schools and then "force" families into that school. There needed to be some flexibility in the system. But all that institutional memory is just gone.

The conclusion the last time was that it would be far easier and simplier to honor a limited choice model, where people could be honest and direct about their choices and the district would do their best to accommodate these choices. Otherwise, there would be plenty of gaming the system and managing that would be less predictable. 70% of families already have two addresses. It would be really interesting to run the maps from the meeting with both addresses and then divide that number in half. The picture would look drastically different.

Downtown seems to think that all choice can be eliminated and then somehow, magically, there will be a better outcome. It just doesn't work that way. When you back people into a corner, they are more likely to just leave.






Anonymous said...

Thanks GLP!

Live Life

Anonymous said...

Wow. That board report is interesting.

I move that the Board approve the Student Assignment Plan, as attached to the Board Action Report, and retire the 2009 New Student Assignment Plan to minimize confusion.

It should read ... to remove all choice options and protections for students, rather than to minimize confusion.

- grouchy parent

Anonymous said...

@Fairmont - are the HC students in west Seattle going private, not identified, or not there? If it's the first two out of three, maybe a HC cohort/pathway in West Seattle would magically produce more advanced learners?

Half Full

Anonymous said...

I know a student with 2 addresses as his parents are divorced. Dad's address is listed as primary, mom's secondary and student attends Hamilton. For high school, I'm sure they'll list mom's as primary and dad's as secondary and the student will attend Ballard High School ... to avoid Lincoln.

N by Nw

Anonymous said...

I do know of more than one family that is legally gaming the system. Actually, renting an apartment in boundary of the school they want to attend and living in it, and then leasing or renting out their home.

Others are renting and are intending to move within the boundary of their desired HS once the boundaries are established. With all of the new construction around RHS that won't be difficult.

I know of other families that have tried the choice system in the past years. The school they applied for had plenty of building space, and enough staff to accommodate wait list moves. However, just like Stevens, Enrollment Planning had projected a reduction in staff, so the wait list didn't move. Enrollment at the school decreased (although not a lot, and 20-30 kids above projections) yet even so, staff was reduced and the wait list not moved. The majority of these families left SPS within three years.

I agree with Kellie that Enrollment Planning will not succeed with their plan to provide themselves with total predictability in enrollment by eliminating choice. I also suspect they (EP) don't care if enrollment in SPS declines. If no one cares it is a zero sum game for families. With no reason to stay , why would they?

And eventually, this no choice strategy will backfire as the loss of so many students will reduce monies from the State and there is only so long this decline can continue and the many jobs at JSCEE be maintained.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

And "Space Available" in the 2009 SAP always meant building capacity not staffing allocation. Remember the maddening, continually changing, school building capacity numbers? The numerous review by facilities of school buildings where the Janitor Closets, Staff Rooms, Art Classrooms were deemed to be converted into classroom space if needed? Where after one review the school capacity was deemed to be 300, but following the next review the capacity was updated to 450? Art on a Cart, Music classes in the cafetorium, even entire classrooms in the hallway?

I am not saying this is the ideal to return to, but space available should return to actual physical (reasonable) space based on the classrooms available at the school. Not an arbitrary staffing allotment determined by EP who could just be directed to not staff a school that their boss says needs to close down. All without Board oversight.

The 2009 NSAP is pages and pages long - it includes each of the boundary maps of all of the schools. This proposed SAP is very similar to what EP tried to float last year. Not a lot of detail, a lot removed from Board oversight. (Including boundaries!)

These past years have very distinctly shown that if EP or staff at JSCEE say "trust me" it is not to be believed (Whitman, Stevens, etc.) If there is to be a new SAP then it should be many pages of very detailed rules, that are clear and unambiguous to families and the Board. No more (to quote Eric B.) left is right and black is white.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

And "space available" should be corrected to "budget/staff available" since it really has nothing to do with space!

HF